Pogus Caesar, photographer

Pogus Caesar is a conceptual artist and photojournalist based in Birmingham, England. Here, he explains how The Smart Fund could make a difference to his practice.

The differences that The Smart Fund would make can and should be quite immediate, providing a framework where everyone involved benefits from the vast untapped artistic potential in the UK.  

The practice of hard work equals pay is a framework that binds societies together, artists are no different and should be treated equally. Other countries have led the way with similar funds. We have the financial systems in place to build a society where government, technical companies and the artistic community develop a triangle of creative sustainability and trust.

As the UK rapidly adjusts to new modes of engagement, previous funding structures should be revised to accommodate new innovations. Technical possibilities during lockdown have given creatives the ease and immediacy of sharing content with a wide audience. From a personal point of view, this practice has eased the burden and a new freedom has been realised. All the technical, creative, and financial expertise is at the government’s fingertips. The creative community is keen to participate in these exciting developments and allow cultural cohesion to prosper, as other countries do.

The Smart Fund would provide an immediate impact, in terms of the positive uplift of a community that has been devastated and artistically denied much of its financial security throughout the pandemic.

As a creator, access to funding, building partnerships with artistic establishments, sustaining a competent framework in order to create art are just a few of the hurdles I have to overcome. To an extent these struggles become part of your everyday existence, so it becomes acceptable: ‘it is the life of an artist, the one you chose for yourself.’ However, constantly working to solve these issues can be mentally combative, therefore it is important to reorganise and work towards solutions that offer new perspectives. Engaging with the unknown can sometimes provide extremely positive outcomes.

The Smart Fund would provide an immediate impact, in terms of the positive uplift of a community that has been devastated and artistically denied much of its financial security throughout the pandemic. As creatives, not everyone has the ability or resources to survive, many are struggling with the notion of changing careers as the debate of a further lockdown is ever present. The Smart Fund is essential towards providing a backbone for thriving creative communities. Tourism and the arts are inadvertently linked; if the country doesn’t rejoice in our legacy, has the continual struggle been in vain?

In the past, I have found arts funders have made it increasingly difficult to understand their language and cultural practice. Confusion and lack of support ultimately drives artists towards the underground railroad of artistic survival, the hurdles and glass ceilings I have encountered has toughened my mettle and forced me to seek out alternative modes of survival. I am frequently reminded of this fact therefore prepared for the uneven journey, so I can adjust my mode of thinking for the more positive and significant developments in the arts appearing on the horizon.

Pray for Becky, Pogus Caesar, 2018 © Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2021

Payment for creators and performers

The UK is behind other countries in keeping up with technological developments.

Leading manufacturers are already paying into similar schemes in 45 countries around the world, generating over £900 million a year for creators and performers.

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